The construction of Elmwood Park Zoo‘s new Welcome Center and industry-leading Veterinary Health Center is nearing completion and is expected to open to the public on June 27, 2024. This multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility will allow the Zoo to provide care to current and future animal species while offering guests an unprecedented look inside the daily operations of the Zoo’s veterinary team. 

“Elmwood Park Zoo’s mission truly comes to life once you step inside our new Welcome Center,” said Al Zone, Executive Director and CEO, Elmwood Park Zoo. “Every element of our new facility touches on three themes – Care, Conservation, and Connection – and those themes are further highlighted through interactive displays and reactive lighting. The new exhibits and access to portions of the Health Center aim to educate guests about the important role zoos play in protecting and caring for wildlife.”

The 39,000 square foot facility features an outdoor entrance plaza with a water fountain, ticket windows, animal exhibits, interactive kiosks, viewing bays that look into the Health Center’s Treatment Room and Animal Commissary, a coffee shop, and a 4,000 square foot gift shop. 

The new visitor experience begins with elements that evoke the Zoo’s natural surroundings, like the pathways that mimic the flow of Stony Creek. Signs and displays speak to the 100-year history of the Zoo and the progress that has been made to make it one of the premier cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.  A custom built “tree house” will serve as a unique meeting spot, rest area, and scenic vantage point for the entire Welcome Center. A new water fountain at the center of the plaza features sculptures of white-tailed deer and a stalking jaguar, created by artist Zenos Frudakis, that represent the Zoo’s founding, its present and its future.  

Once inside the new Welcome Center, guests will encounter a series of digital touch screens that are featured throughout the space. They host quizzes and games that will not only entertain guests, but will also provide them with a better understanding of how the Zoo cares for its animals, and how it is part of a larger network that exists to support conservation efforts around the globe. The Welcome Center will also be home to several animal exhibits featuring native Pennsylvania turtles, golden lion tamarins, and black-footed ferrets.

Additionally, guests will enjoy a brand new coffee shop, the Buck Cafe, which features various coffees, teas, sandwiches, and snacks. They will also have access to large family bathrooms, a family quiet room, a nursing station, and a newly expanded gift shop.

The highlight of the experience is a peek inside the Frank & Paige Engro Veterinary Health Center, named in honor of the Engros, whose $30 million donation in 2022 jump-started the development of the entire facility. The Health Center features a surgical suite, diagnostic lab, indoor/outdoor recovery wards, and an in-house pharmacy, all outfitted with the latest tools and cutting edge equipment. 

Viewing windows will allow guests to watch Veterinary staff conduct exams and procedures, providing insight into the dedicated care the Zoo’s animals receive each day. Guests can periodically take part in the proceedings by texting questions to the team who may answer them as the procedures take place. A viewing window into the Animal Commissary will also give guests the unique opportunity to watch diets being prepared for all of the animals at the Zoo.

The Zoo’s yearly members will be given exclusive early access to the Welcome Center and Veterinary Health Center  beginning on Monday, June 24 through Wednesday, June 26, from 12:00 PM to 7:30 PM each day.  In addition to being the first guests to enjoy the new facility, members will be able to register for staff-guided tours that provide behind-the-scenes access and unprecedented looks at the facility’s various features. The rest of the Zoo will also be open exclusively for members on each day until 5:00 PM, after which only the Welcome Center/Health Center will be open from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM.

The Zoo will open again to the general public on Thursday, June 27 at 10:00 AM. This will also be the first time that the new facility opens to the public. 

For more information on the new Welcome Center and Veterinary Health Center, visit